“I have a built in sense of not being good enough that I’ve carried with me from whatever it’s come from and an easy way to fit in was to self-medicate. After a while, self-medication started to stifle anything good that I could create including the ability to even like myself. That led itself to a place where I was either going to (weighty pause)…. I just had to get better, I hated who I‘d become.”
Hey, he said it. I just wrote about it a couple of days ago, when I was talking about why I choose to live a sober life. I think you sometimes reach a point where you can’t go anywhere but up. And for each of us, it’s a different place.
Anyhow, I’ve been pretty engaged lately in life, I’ve found it’s the only way to be OK, really, like Bertrand Russell (an early 1900′s philosopher) in The Conquest of Happiness writes:
“Perhaps the best introduction to the philosophy which I wish to advocate will be a few words of autobiography. I was not born happy. As a child, my favorite hymn was: ‘Weary of earth and laden with my sin’. At the age of five, I reflected that, if I should live to be seventy, I had only endured, so far, a fourteenth part of my whole life, and I felt the long spread out boredom ahead of me to be almost unendurable.
In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics.
Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more. This is due partly to having discovered what were the things that I most desired and having gradually acquired many of these things. Partly it is due to having successfully dismissed certain objects of desire – such as the acquisition of indubitable knowledge about something or other – as essentially unattainable. But very largely it is due to a diminishing preoccupation with myself.
Like others who had a Puritan education, I had the habit of meditating on my sins, follies, and shortcomings. I seemed to myself – no doubt justly – a miserable specimen.
Gradually I learned to be indifferent to myself and my deficiencies; I came to center my attention increasingly upon external objects: the state of the world, various branches of knowledge, individuals for whom I felt affection.
External interests, it is true, bring each its own possibility of pain: the world may be plunged in war, knowledge in some direction may be hard to achieve, friends may die.
But pains of these kinds do not destroy the essential quality of life, as do those that spring from disgust with self.
And every external interest inspires some activity which, so long as the interest remains alive, is a complete preventive of ennui. Interest in oneself, on the contrary, leads to no activity of a progressive kind. It may lead to the keeping of a diary, to getting psycho-analysed, or perhaps to becoming a monk. But the monk will not be happy until the routine of the monastery has made him forget his own soul. The happiness which he attributes to religion he could have obtained from becoming a crossing-sweeper, provided he were compelled to remain one. External discipline is the only road to happiness for those unfortunates whose self-absorption is too profound to be cured in any other way.”
These are truths I’ve stumbled upon through my own means, but this whole book is a must-read, and really has changed the way I’ve approached people and situations lately. I know going into something expecting something is a surefire way to reach let down, whereas, if I enjoy people and things with no expectations of ownership, possession, expectation, realizing we all exist in our own independent spaces, the outcome is so much better.
Keep interested in a variety of thing, enjoy others. And also, enjoy simplicity. Sleep well and eat enough food. Trust people.